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mlssufan01

Ed Welch's take on Boundaries

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When my pastor said he was implementing boundaries, my mind went to a million different places...were they right, were the boundaries sinful, am I overthinking this, why won't they reconcile, it feels like they won't forgive me when I'm willing to change.  Have I even done anything wrong?  What I tend to do when I look a Christian resource that isn't the Bible...is ask how has it affected people, both positively and negatively?  Even if I disagree with it, is there any truth anywhere to be found?  That's sort of where my thinking went with Henry Cloud's books on Boundaries...All of the supporters are those that give boundaries...there is not one positive review by someone who said boundaries were implemented and it helped them see the light...The vast majority of reviews are either those who gave boundaries...those who were hurt by boundaries, or those who regretted giving boundaries.  I have yet to find someone who was thankful someone gave them a boundary.
However...I also must take into account the sad reality of the worst case scenarios...rape, murder, abuse, surely it would be wise to place a boundary on these people, wouldn't it?  I frantically searched Scripture hoping that God would show me the truth.  I saw some vague interpretations...such as Jesus getting away from crowds to pray, or going to the temple, to the frustration of his earthly parents, but nowhere did I see Jesus ending relationships, in particular with his disciples.  I saw his teaching of going and being reconciled, which by definition is the restoring of relationship.  Many people refer to Paul and Barnabas having a division, but even this, I could not find instruction...only an account of events.  The only actual teaching of boundaries was this:  in 1 Corinthians, a man was engaged in incest with his mother, and had no remorse or repentance...Paul instructed Corinth to remove him from fellowship, to be handed over to Satan.  However...in 2 Corinthians, Paul instructs them to reconcile...to forgive him, welcome him, and comfort him, so that he may not despair..can you imagine...having to associate with a sinner who committed such a heinous act?  Yet that is what God said there.  I began searching all cases of boundaries...a concept which did not originate in Christian circles, but finds it's origins within mental health and psychology...boundaries was a hot button topic in the 80's, while Henry Cloud's book wasn't published until 1992.  I seriously questioned a lot of his behavior...as it seems to me people rebuked his theology and he just didn't care.  People told him he was selfish and he essentially said there was no way he could possibly be wrong on this; while I don't think he's all wrong...an attitude of this manner struck me as extremely dangerous.  I began to decide that boundaries were not really good or bad...they were amoral...they can be used righteously or sinfully.  I see Henry Cloud very swiftly instructing couples to divorce without proper marriage counseling or even discussing matters with both parties; I also read the countless hurts of those who were engaged in his ministry..he seemed extremely dangerous.  Then I discovered an article by Ed Welch...and his take on boundaries really hit on a lot of what I was feeling.  It's about a 10-page essay, but I feel it is quite a good read, and a much better approach to relationships with a more biblical view of boundaries.  I would appreciate feedback.

 

https://womenscareministry.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/boundaries.pdf

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Having not read the book for myself, it is hard to comment on your paper. I did notice that even though the paper is titled "Boundaries in Relationships," your first page was about metaphors. I kept waiting for you to get to the point.

The thing which has jumped out to me the most is the first sentence of this thread where you wrote "When my pastor said he was implementing boundaries, my mind went to a million different places."

Does your pastor have the authority to implement boundaries? What type of boundaries is he speaking of? I believe our boundaries are set forth in scripture.

As to your statement "I have yet to find someone who was thankful someone gave them a boundary," let me be the first someone.       There were many boundaries put on me as a child, a teenager, a young adult, a wife etc. In many cases these boundaries were for my safety and well being. Having raised children, I know, that if no boundaries are set, children will get up to no good. The same applies to adults because of human nature.

Being a Christian has its own set of boundaries. There are things we are not to do if we follow Christ.

A world without boundaries is a chaotic world.

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I am not the author of the article...it was written by another Christian author, so those are not my words.  I think it's more along the lines I think we can set sinful boundaries as well.  I'm not saying all boundaries are bad, but I am saying some are.  Besides this point, setting a boundary doesnt stop someone from crossing that boundary.  You tell a child dont touch that stove, it's hot, they still do it. This is a good boundary. But you can also tell a child to never eat apples because they ate one that made them sick, when in fact most apples are healthy.  This is a bad boundary.  What I am saying is boundaries are created by humans who still implement human nature in their boundary making.  Hopefully that makes sense.

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4 minutes ago, mlssufan01 said:

 

Ok, I misunderstood who wrote it.

I agree with your point "boundaries are created by humans who still implement human nature in their boundary making." After all, we were not created perfect. Only the Lord has that distinction.

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36 minutes ago, mlssufan01 said:

I began searching all cases of boundaries...a concept which did not originate in Christian circles, but finds it's origins within mental health and psychology...boundaries was a hot button topic in the 80's, while Henry Cloud's book wasn't published until 1992.  I seriously questioned a lot of his behavior...as it seems to me people rebuked his theology and he just didn't care.  People told him he was selfish and he essentially said there was no way he could possibly be wrong on this; while I don't think he's all wrong...an attitude of this manner struck me as extremely dangerous.  I began to decide that boundaries were not really good or bad...they were amoral...they can be used righteously or sinfully.  I see Henry Cloud very swiftly instructing couples to divorce without proper marriage counseling or even discussing matters with both parties; I also read the countless hurts of those who were engaged in his ministry..he seemed extremely dangerous.

If the point of the OP is that setting boundaries is neither a panacea that can solve everything nor a model of thinking to constantly employ in our lives, I think most would agree.   I also think most would agree that at some point in our lives many of us face situations where boundaries are appropriate to set.  The linked article was a reasonable commentary on limitations of using boundaries for all situations as well as motivations for using them.

I am concerned that there are some rather strong and accusatory and potentially libelous statements presented in the OP without references backing them up.  Statements such as this should be backed up with solid references.  It's one thing to say the author's approach to boundaries can be over applied in too many situations.  It is another thing to personally attack him without documenting it. 

I'm unsure of the point of the OP.  Is it to generate a discussion on appropriate and inappropriate uses of boundaries in the Christian life?  Or is it about calling the spiritual and moral character of the author into question?

1 hour ago, mlssufan01 said:

why won't they reconcile, it feels like they won't forgive me when I'm willing to change.  Have I even done anything wrong?

Personal relationships can be messy and complicated.  Being *willing* to change is often far different than *actually* changing.  Sometimes we have to show some tangible evidence to a person we've hurt that we actually are capable of change.  Forgiveness is something we do inside to release ourselves from bondage to bitterness and hurt.  Forgiveness is unilateral and does not require change on the part of the offender.  Reconciliation on the other hand often requires tangible changes before it can proceed.  Lip service about change may not be enough.   

Sometimes what bothers one person does not bother another.  Sometimes we can be oblivious to how we've hurt another.  Also, some abusive people use accusations of wrongdoing against others as a means of abuse.  There are degrees of hurt ranging from that which can be fairly easily forgiven and reconciled to deep painful trauma that causes severe emotional and spiritual damage.   Boundaries are something that can be appropriately used to improve some situations or inappropriately used to worsen some situations.   

 

 

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Here are some references, though admittedly, only some of them are actual direct references to the author himself, while some are just stories of those who either dealt with the man or heard radio stories...so most would not consider it worthy evidence.  The Youtube Videos, however, point to his use of one-sided arguments...in this video we see a caller badmouth her mother, and Henry Cloud supports her boundary, despite never talking to the mother.

In the following website I would forward you to the comments, as it exemplifies my narrative of people's commentary on boundaries.  While I certainly can't point you to any 100% fullproof source indicating their truthfulness, I would concede that there is enough witness testimony here to at least call his method of boundary-giving into question:  http://pastor-ricks-musings.blogspot.com/  

As for Henry Cloud saying people called him selfish, this is found here.

Edited by George -- Placed the videos on the videos forum and linked to the page below.

 

Edited by George

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4 hours ago, GandalfTheWise said:

If the point of the OP is that setting boundaries is neither a panacea that can solve everything nor a model of thinking to constantly employ in our lives, I think most would agree.   I also think most would agree that at some point in our lives many of us face situations where boundaries are appropriate to set.  The linked article was a reasonable commentary on limitations of using boundaries for all situations as well as motivations for using them.

I am concerned that there are some rather strong and accusatory and potentially libelous statements presented in the OP without references backing them up.  Statements such as this should be backed up with solid references.  It's one thing to say the author's approach to boundaries can be over applied in too many situations.  It is another thing to personally attack him without documenting it. 

I'm unsure of the point of the OP.  Is it to generate a discussion on appropriate and inappropriate uses of boundaries in the Christian life?  Or is it about calling the spiritual and moral character of the author into question?

Personal relationships can be messy and complicated.  Being *willing* to change is often far different than *actually* changing.  Sometimes we have to show some tangible evidence to a person we've hurt that we actually are capable of change.  Forgiveness is something we do inside to release ourselves from bondage to bitterness and hurt.  Forgiveness is unilateral and does not require change on the part of the offender.  Reconciliation on the other hand often requires tangible changes before it can proceed.  Lip service about change may not be enough.   

Sometimes what bothers one person does not bother another.  Sometimes we can be oblivious to how we've hurt another.  Also, some abusive people use accusations of wrongdoing against others as a means of abuse.  There are degrees of hurt ranging from that which can be fairly easily forgiven and reconciled to deep painful trauma that causes severe emotional and spiritual damage.   Boundaries are something that can be appropriately used to improve some situations or inappropriately used to worsen some situations.   

 

 

In reference to being willing to change...all of us need to change something...nobody is perfect, we need each other's help. .Sometimes you don't recognize your sin and sometimes I don't recognize mine.  If I can identify it, I can change it.  If you can identify it, and gently point this out to me, I can then change.  When nobody can point to where change is needed, even among church counsel, then perhaps we have a separate issue.  Perhaps someone thinks something is sin when it is not.  Perhaps someone thinks something is not sin when it is.  This is why you need more than one pastor, more than two people, sometimes more than three people.

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7 hours ago, mlssufan01 said:

I would appreciate feedback.

Up to this point, this thread is largely theoretical.   Are there some particular situations (hypothetical or real) that could be discussed?  I'd guess that many might find it easier to give feedback on particular concrete situations.  There are healthy ways of setting up boundaries and there are unhealthy ways of setting up boundaries.  Without setting up real or hypothetical situations to discuss, it's hard to give feedback about when boundaries are good and when they are not.  

 

 

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